Good lord, another journal. Well, sometimes I go for a month without writing one, so suffer!
I've been asked about this recently, so thought I'd write about it just in case someone else might relate or find it encouraging.
A lot of people are surprised to hear that I have only been painting since 2011. Well, it's true
. I had coloured
a few line arts here and there before that, but I never really tried
at painting. I was dabbling and just slapping on colour, not bothering to figure out the programs or anything. Because I truly didn't believe I could do it.
Backing up a bit, I'm someone who was a traditional artist
. I have been drawing with pencils and paper since I was just a little tyke. Naturally, I wanted everything to do with art in school.
And that's where this little tale turns dark and mildly depressing
I had this teacher, in my very first ever traditional painting class. He was one of these types, that if any of you are planning to venture down the path of the art world, you will encounter in vast quantities.
The Egomaniacal Jerkwad.
I had my first ever painting assignment, but I had to do it in a very short period of time. Like, 2 days. Being the ambitious little twit that I was, I of course, tried to draw a large scenic estate, with some kind of snooty garden party going on ( I like cocktails and mini cucumber sandwiches, ok? don't judge my yester-self
). That way I could draw fashions, and details. DETAILS. ( I.. am a bit detail oriented. It's a sickness). But I hadn't realized how difficult it was to paint such a thing.
Because I had no idea what I was doing
But I tried. I tried my best. Over the weekend, I got maybe 3 hours sleep, and though it didn't turn out the way I would have liked ( instant Caravaggio
). It wasn't that bad. I was a beginner. A painting virgin. I had a long way to go
and I hoped to learn as much as I could. So I handed it in.
A few days later, this instructor calls me to review my work. And mark my words, I remember this like it was yesterday. I sat down in his office, and he had my painting there on his desk. I expected that he would speak to me about the problems, where I could begin to learn how to do this *colour* thing, like proper painting techniques, and maybe I could pick his brain about all the questions I had because yes, I really wanted to learn.
He looked directly at me, and said: " This is a piece of shit. It sucks. I dunno what to say. Painting is not your thing. But I can see here that you can definitely DRAW. You can DRAFT. But not paint. You have no skill or talent in that way. So from now on, just don't bother trying. Focus on your strength. Drafting. Because again, you will never be a painter, It just isn't you, you stink at painting."
So, I was a young teen and very thoroughly crushed lol. It's a hard thing to hear, because what I didn't understand, was that I thought that I was at the stage of life, where I was IN school, and that he as an instructor was actually supposed to be teaching me something. he was the Painting Teacher afterall
. But then I concluded, "Omg, he's the PAINTING teacher . He must know what he's talking about . I thought I at least had the capacity to learn, but I guess I'm so terrible, that he has no hope for me."
It's ok for you to start tearing up and send me hugs now.
No, just kidding lol. I only like hugging my dog.
But I believed this guy, and I abandoned painting entirely. I finished that class ( and now in hindsight, I realize he was never a teacher. he was a guy paid to sit in a chair and tell us to work lol). I kept drafting and worked on lifedrawing and such.
Then insert another story that I don't care to share, but in a nutshell, on my journey thus far, the single most toxic type of people I've encountered in art, are the egomaniacs. The ones who put everyone else down, and treat people like garbage, while singing their own praises.
The Egomanical Jerkwad is that guy in your art class who walks around the room like he (or she, I assume that's understood) is a walking God of Art. That their art is the pinnacle of the beginning and the end, the stars and awesomeness and other things.....awesome
They usually proclaim it on a regular basis, while at the same time, putting down everyone else around them. Do you have a tiny glimmer of talent in you? They will attempt to squish it like a cockroach
They are a species of human that baffle me, as I, though not devoid of ego, had just enough of one to let these people get to me
. I have a perfectionist streak that doesn't often allow me to enjoy my own artwork, and I'm forever analyzing all the way things should
be better. In that way, I didn't build up my confidence level that serves as a shield against assholes. I was just one of these humans who could never imagine why
anyone in a school setting would be a complete monster to others in that way, as to me, it's kind of a waste of time.
But I was small and naive, and learned that sometimes, unless someone backs their van over an Egotistical Jerkwad, they might grow up and someone, somewhere, in a substandard school or job, might give them a teensy bit of power
So after getting burnt out by having something I used to love, become nothing but a source of constant suffering, I stopped all art for a long time. For 2 years I didn't pick up a pencil, a tablet or anything. I did not doodle in a waiting room, or even find a way to sculpt my mashed potatoes into a zombie hand rising out of a grave plot. I even got a job doing something completely unrelated. I was done, and started looking at universities that were as far removed from art as possible.
The Egotistical Jerkwads had successfully killed
art for me. I got a job at a respectable company, and I had to dye my hair back to black, take the ring out of my mouth, put on a SUIT and sit at a desk.
But you know what? All through that time, as lame and Made-For-TV movie as it may sound, I honestly felt like something was missing from my life. I felt different o__O.
I had a lot of time to think, the job was death.
Art was something that had been with me as far back I could remember. It used to make me happy. I started drawing because I used to make these absurd little comics when I was as young a 4-5 years old, and they used to make my older brother kill himself laughing. And him enjoying them, inspired me to do more. As I got older, I realized that one of my greatest inspirations to do art, was to bask in the glow of other people getting a kick out of it. Yes yes, i know the mantra on Deviantart where everyone proclaims "You are not an artist unless you do it for YOURSELF."
Well that's fine for some, but that's not what kept me inspired when I was small
. Making others, my brothers, my friends, laugh, or drawing their characters, or even drawing something that made my mother happy was what kept me interested.
So why did I let a pile of angry, miserable, thoughtless, Egotistical Jerkwads take that away from me? INB4: This is not regarding anything in the professional art world. No one should expect to be treated like a grinning, cherubic child when working in say, a studio. However, I still don't think there is any reason to be a bitter, megalomaniac no matter how old you are, or where you may work. I believe it's professional to treat people with respect. I don't buy into this culture where seeing how much of a beating people can take = their worth to pursue their own path. Whether that's professional or not. However, there are lots of different people in this world, and in a professional environment, you might have to get along with them.
I took a leap in 2011, and on my crappy laptop, I decided to grab my student copy of Photoshop, and have at it. Paint. No one had ever really given me a shot at it. Not even myself
. But I decided to just try
. regardless of what anyone had ever said to me. And I tried to give myself rules. I fail at them a lot, but I think of them like guidelines lol.
1. Finish what you start
2. Post it for feedback *even if you don't like it.*
3. Start a new piece.
4. Try to Paint or Art as often as you can. Even if just for 30 mins.
5. At the same time, if you just aren't feeling it, it's OK to take a break. It's ok to put it down.
4. Attempt something new, attempt to learn something in every painting. Don't stagnate.
5. Try not to beat yourself up.
So, since then I have been teaching myself digital art programs, and let me tell you, that was a frustrating learning curve
lol. Simultaneously, I'm always trying to teach myself how to paint. After giving up on it years ago, when a teacher stared me in the face and told me I sucked at it, and would never
be able to do it."You suck. You will never be a painter."
I'm writing this not as someone who considers themselves a huge success now. I'm not exactly a popular artist on Deviantart, and I know I have a long way to go, and much more to learn. But I succeeded at least in the way that I took something back that I thought was gone. Instead of leaving it behind, and letting it leave nothing but a bitter taste in my mouth, I realized that only I, myself had the power to "kill art" for me
. In the end, it was my responsibility to stop wallowing or running from possible failure, and at least try
. Even if no one believed in me. Even if people wondered why I was wasting my time
No one was sitting on my hands or anything. It was basically a battle raging on in my own head.
You have to be objective in your life, and just because a teacher, or senior, or someone who you look up to tells you something, it still might be wrong. It might be for terrible reasons. It might simply be careless and insensitive, or they might even think their doing you a favour. There are lots of reasons why people say hurtful things, but if you have perseverance, the desire to learn and improve ( and for people like Koji. some anti-anxity medication and a decent therapist to talk to once in awhile), you might actually surprise yourself and find a way to push on and accomplish things no one thought you could.
Believe in your own skills or aptitude, try to cut the power negative influences have on you, and push forward even if you can only muster the strength to do it a little bit at a time. That's what I'm doing~
Isn't that a touching story? I'm done publicly feeling now for about 4 months.